Join StoryMasters for a cornucopia of original tales!
From fantastic fables to humorous side splitters to dramatic family exposés, we are presenting a feast of formats and flavors. Sweet, spicy, or savory, our stories are served up for an adult audience. So pull up a chair. And don’t forget to Bring Your Own Beverage!
Catherine Magruder, a founding member of StoryMasters, is the author of the children’s book When Henry Met Santa Claus. A Toastmaster since 1990, Catherine is an accomplished speaker. She currently holds the designation of Distinguished Toastmaster and is the 2008 recipient of District 1’s Roy D. Graham Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2017 Lydia Boyd Award. Catherine also volunteers for Tree Musketeers, an organization promoting youth environmental activism, and The Muskwa Club, committed to saving the vaquita.
Retired from the world of corporate finance, Catherine is the mother of 3 wonderful children and grandmother to 2 beautiful boys.
Miyo believes, “Cooking is art. Baking is science. Storytelling is a combination of art and science.” Her storytelling journey started when she visited StoryMasters in 2014. Born and raised in Japan, Miyo Yamauchi brings a unique perspective and sense of humor to storytelling. Her insatiable curiosity about life, people and the world leads her on many adventures and results in stories that delight her audience.
During the day, she works as a computer programmer for UCLA, writing narratives for computers to perform.
Bharat Sangekar first visited StoryMasters in 2015. A newbie Toastmaster then, he was on his way from Australia to contest in the World Championship of Public Speaking semifinals in Las Vegas, and wanted to practice his speeches with us. We promptly adopted him. He continued contesting and was one of the 6 finalists at the World Championship in Denver, Colorado in 2019. As soon as StoryMasters became a virtual club in summer of 2020, he signed up to become a member right away and now attends our meetings on his Monday mornings from Melbourne, Australia.
Bharat leads a busy life balancing parenting 2 young boys, a corporate leadership job and pursuing his passion for speaking, storytelling and stand up comedy. And it’s the passion that brings sanity to his life. He finds the pursuit of compelling content creation, vivid narration and the mere opportunity to entertain, engage and inspire a fellow human being through immersive storytelling, very fulfilling.
Mallery McMurtrey’s reverence for storytelling began at her first StoryMasters workshop. There, she witnessed expert storyteller Barbara H. Clark portray her family’s history so vividly that Mallery could picture herself in the room with all the beautifully depicted characters. Everything changed from that day forward, as Mallery sought to become a compelling storyteller. She continually learns from the superb members around her who always strive for quality and excellence.
Mallery brings this same enthusiasm to lead, inspire and educate the youth in our community as Toastmasters District 1 Youth Leadership Program Chair.
Hiba Hamdan believes in the power of well-crafted stories that entertain us, teach us, and inspire us. Having learned the storytelling techniques from her brilliant mentors, she keeps on using this knowledge to enhance her own presentations, and – as a speaking coach – to help her clients create compelling speeches.
After a 20-year career in the airline and telecommunication industries, Hiba started to explore the world of media. She currently works on a part-time basis in TV show programming.
In 2018, Hiba initiated a local TV series, titled “Wisdom of our City”, where senior community members share stories and life lessons about overcoming struggle and leading a happy life.
Margaret Mitchell is a lifelong student of the written and spoken word. She received her B.A. in
English from CSULA; dabbled in writing poetry awhile, and was published in Ms. Magazine,
Black American Literature Forum, and several little magazines.
A Toastmaster since 1999, she joined StoryMasters in 2011 to develop her skills as a storyteller. She continues to hone her craft as a teller of stories through practice, observing other storytellers, and attending workshops, most notably the Tell Me A Story workshop conducted by acclaimed storyteller Barbara H. Clark.
The emcee for “From Soup to Nuts: a Veritable Feast of Stories” is the co-founder of StoryMasters, Tina Tomiyama. One of many children born to a pair of artists in Chicago, Tina moved to Los Angeles in the late 60s and met her husband Jiro at Art Center College of Design. After decades of designing everything from movie posters to Barbie® dolls, Tina thankfully retired. She now savors the rich world of storytelling, although she confesses, “I enjoy writing, but I’d always rather listen to someone else’s good story than tell one myself.”